Saturday May 25

Whitman at 200 on the Philly Waterfront
05/25 – 09/03

Celebrate the 200th birthday of poet Walt Whitman on the Delaware River Waterfront, featuring events and experiences, that will inspire you to recite “ O Captain, My Captain“ all day.

Whitman at 200 RiverLink Ferry Installation by Spencer Finch

May 25 - September 3

Spencer Finch, a New York-based artist known for sculpture, installations, and drawings that capture fleeting natural phenomena and sensory experience, will create an interactive work on the RiverLink Ferry that operates between Philadelphia and Camden. In Whitman’s day, a number of ferries connected the two cities, but today only one ferry runs, from May to September. Finch’s piece will directly link Whitman’s journey in the late 19th century to today’s visitors’ experience of the river as they match the color of the sky and water by spinning two color wheels of Pantone swatches.

Please check ferry hours of operation before planning your trip. Ferry tickets can be purchased on-site.

Contradict This!: A Birthday Funeral For Heroes By The Bearded Ladies - TICKETED EVENT

Friday, May 31 - Sunday, June 2

7:30 pm

Cake, coffin, gavel, choir, composers, live musical trolling! On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the much-lauded poet Walt Whitman’s birth, a group of Philly misfits known as The Bearded Ladies Cabaret gathers overlooking the Whitman Bridge to put this famous writer ancestor and his legacy on trial. Come with friends, complaints, heroes and villains alike. All are welcome.

This event is ticketed. To purchase tickets, visit HERE. And to learn more about the Whitman at 200 celebrations and to view a full schedule of events, visit

Contradict This! A Birthday Funeral for Heroes was commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries for Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, a series of cultural events marking Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday. Major support for Whitman at 200 artistic commissions has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Whitman at 200 RiverRoad by Carolyn Healy and John Phillips - TICKETED EVENT

June 4, 8 pm - 9 pm,

June 5, 10 pm -11 pm

*Please note that June 5 RiverRoad experience has been moved to June 6

Installation artists Carolyn Healy and John JH Phillips collaborate with performer James Osby Gwathney Jr. to create a multimedia work based on Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road.” The piece takes place on a large industrial barge on the Delaware River and features video, sculpture, lighting, and electronic sound in an environment in which Gwathney performs the entire text of Whitman’s poem. While a tugboat guides the barge from Penn’s Landing, where the audience boards, to a point downriver and back, the audience freely follows Gwathney as he recites the poem, traveling with him along the 130 feet of the barge deck through the structures of the set.

Tickets are free, but registration is required. Visit HERE for more information. 

  • csp whitman 200 digital sketch for riverroad 2018